Bees

Bees

Mark L. Winston is the author of "Bee Time:Lessons from the Hive". He has had a distinguished career researching, teaching, writing and commenting on bees and agriculture, environmental issues, and science policy. His website The Hive has information on bees.

Bees and Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine used on crops all over the world.

A 2014 study released by Friends of the Earth Canada, Friends of the Earth U.S. and the Pesticide Research Institute (PRI) showed that: 

  • more than half of garden plants sampled in the U.S and Canada contain levels of neonicotinoid pesticides harmful to bees, other pollinator insects and birds.
  • Nurseries commonly apply neonicotinoids as soil injections, granular or liquid soil treatments, foliar sprays  (applied to leaves), and seed treatments. Water-soluble pesticides such as neonicotinoids are readily absorbed by plant roots and transported systemically in the plant’s vascular system to other portions of the plant, including roots, pollen, leaves, stems, and fruit.
  • Plants treated with neonicotinoids continue exuding these pesticides in pollen and nectar for months to years after initial treatment.

To view the full 2014 study click here.

In 2015, Friends of the Earth U.S. and the Pesticide Research Institute released “Growing Bee-Friendly Garden Plants: Profiles In Innovations”, a report that profiles the strategies used by nursery and greenhouse growers to reduce or eliminate their use of neonicotinoid insecticides on garden plants.

Both study suggest that consumers ask nursery owners whether or not the plants they sell are treated with neonicotinoids or are labeled as such.

For more information click on the links below:

What are neonicotinoids?

BC Honey Producers to Hold neonicotinoid insecticide discussion.

BC Honey Producers Association Forum on Pesticides - March 2015 with presentations from the Ontario Bee Keepers Association, Canola Council, Crop Life Canada and a science presentation by Elisabeth Elle from SFU.

David Suzuki Foundation

Friends of the Earth Bee-Cause

Friends of the Earth "Growing Bee-Friendly Garden Plants" Report

Nature article " Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides.

The importance of Bees research article by Katie Kress

The task Force on Systemic Pesticides

Bee Projects

Border Free Bees is a long-term public art initiative inVancouver, Richmond and Kelowna to raise awareness of the plight of wild pollinators, empower communities to actively engage in solutions for habitat loss and transform under-utilized urban sites into aesthetically pleasing and scientifically viable pollinator pastures. 

Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees.

The Elephants and Bees Project is an innovative study using an in-depth understanding of elephant behaviour to reduce damage from crop-raiding elephants using their instinctive avoidance of African honey bees. The project explores the use of novel Beehive Fences as a natural elephant deterrent creating a social and economic boost to poverty-stricken rural communities through pollination services and the sustainable harvesting of “Elephant-Friendly Honey”.